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Class and Social Stratification

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1 Class and Social Stratification

2 Social stratification
It refers to the division of society into a pattern of layers of strata made up hierarchy of unequal social group. It is not primarily system of stratification dealing with social and economic position but also social divisions organised through gender, ethnicity and age.... Basic principles of social stratification are; It is a characteristic of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences. It persist over generations. It is universal but variable. In technologically simple societies, social differentiation is minimal. It involves not just inequalitites but also beliefs.

3 Four Basic Systems of Stratification
Slavery Extreme system of inequality. Slaves had different rights in different societies like Greek or Roman time. Slavery still persists in a form of forced labour or child prostitution.

4 Four Basic System of Stratification
Caste Is an ascribed social status. Indian system of stratification based on Hindu beliefs. Four castes: Brahmin: Religious people; Kshatriya: Warriors; Vaishya: merchants and peasants; Shudra: slaves and unskilled labour. Untouchables: subcaste group. Caste members are performing the same jobs, their everday life is guided with caste rules, members have strong beliefs on caste rules, main activities of castes are typical agrarian routines.

5 Four Basic System of Stratification
Estate Part of European Feudalism Each estate has duties to others. Certain degree of relations between estates. Three Estates: Aristocracy and Gentry: Knights, barons and earls. Clergy: Bishops, abbots, religious people. Commoners: Serfs, free peasant and artisans.

6 Four Basic System of Stratification
Class Class is not based on religion or law but economic differences between groups and individual. Level of social hierarchy is not clear between or within classes. Class system provides upward and downward social mobility. It is not completely ascribed status. There is no legal or religious restriction to mobility. Intermarriage between the classes is possible. Class system is meritocratic.

7 Three Main Classes: Upper Class: Wealthy people, employers and industrialists; Middle Class: white-collar workers and professionals; Working Class: Blue-collar workers and those who perform manual jobs; Peasants: Those who perform traditional agricultural productions and etc..


9 Theories of Class Stratification
From Functionalist Perspective Social inequalities created by stratification have beneficial consequences for the operation of society. By distributing resources inequally, a society motivates each individual to work better and harder. Social stratification creates more reproductive society or meritocratic society which is based on personal merit.

10 Theories of Class Stratification
Conflict theories Social stratification functions to develop some people’s abilities to the fullest while barring the others. Some people benefit from social stratification to discriminate others. According to Karl Marx, capitalist society reproduces the class structure in each new generation. There is an exploitative relationship between the class. Class is a group of people who have common interests and relationship to the means of production. Two major social classes with two basic relationship to the means of production: -those who own property (bourgeoisie, capitalists), -those who offers their labour for others (proletariat, working class). There is an exploitative relationship between the classes. In new capitalist societies exploitation is not noticable. Surplus value turns capitalist as a profit which is always more than they need to pay workers’ salary.

11 Max Weber’s Theory of Class
Weber mentioned that there are some other dimensions which influence people’s class positions and social stratification.Social stratification is not just a matter of class but also status and party. Status: Differences between social groups in the social honour or prestige which are accorded by other. Party: defines a group of people who work together because they have common backgrounds aims and interests. Economic differences that make class divided are not just properties but also skills, credentials and qualifications. Managerial and professional workers get more money and have better life conditions because of their skills.

12 Eric Olin Wright’s Theory Of Class
Wright combines Marx’ and Weber’s theory defines three dimensions of control over economic resources in modern societies that makes class differentiation. -control over investment and money. -control over the physical means of production (land, factory and offices) -control over labour power. Capitalists have control over all of them. Member of working class have control over non of them. Middle class between them has contradictory class locations. Because they can influence some part of production. They cannot control capital and labour power. They are neither capitalists nor manual workers. Class location of middle class depends on two factors such as ‘the relationship to authority’ and ‘possession of skills or expertise’. Most of middle class people have privileges than of the working class. They have skills demanded by labour market.

13 Measuring Class Occupation is the most useful factor in individual’s class standing in terms of life chances and material comfort. People in the same occupation have more or less similar experiences, advantages and disadvantages.

14 John Goldthorpe: Class and Occupation
This neo-Weberian class scheme is based on two main factors which are ‘market situation’ and ‘work situation’ of individuals. Market Situation concerns individual’s payment level, job security and advancement (material reward). Work Situation concerns individual’s power of control, power of authority, autonomy in the workplace and overall relations of control. Goldthorpe developed three main classes according to occupation which are service class, intermediate class and working class.(Table 10.1 p: 289).

15 Social Class Divisions in Western Society Today
The Question of Upper Class Their power comes from control of capital and leading political, educational and cultural life of societies. Affluent people do not announce their wealth openly.We know more about the poor compare to the rich. Some affluent people have old money and some of them made their own wealth.

16 The Middle Class -Made up white-collar workers, professionals and small scale self-employed people. -Middle class has a broad spectrum of people from many different occupations. -Proportion of white-collar jobs increased and this development gave rise to the enlargement of middle class. -Upper middle class, (named ‘service class’ by Goldthrope) is having the skills they have privilege to get higher income. -They take their power from their having credential but not from land. -They have more secure positions compare to blue-collar workers. -They have good educational background and technical skills. -They are selling their mental power not the manual one. -Middle class has loose composition compare to working class. -Social mobility and occupational opportunities are so wide that it’s difficult to define the borders of middle class. Lower middle class heterogeneous is a category including people working as office staff, sales representative: Government officers, nurses and teachers. This group has lower salary and different social and political expectations than lower class.

17 The Changing Nature of Working Class
Working class occupies manual and unskilled or semi-skilled jobs. They have different level of job security, income and working conditions. Karl Marx predicted that they were going to become larger but in fact they get smaller. They are getting middle class wages and becoming more middle class (embourgeisement). In terms of payment, some groups in this class reached to middle class level. They still have a low chance of promotion. They have a low-level job satisfaction because of repetitive and uninteresting jobs. Since they have been socialized as working class person their chance of adoption to middle class value and life style is lower.

18 Class and Lifestyle by Pierre Bourdieu, 1986
Bourdieu sees class groups as identifiable according to their varying level of cultural and economic capital. Individuals divide themselves according to cultural tastes in addition to economic and occupational standings. They need merchants, advertisers, marketers, fashion designers, therapists and web page designers whose job influences people’s cultural tastes and promoting a certain lifestyle. Class division can be linked to distinctive lifestyle and consumption patterns.

19 Grouping in Middle Class by Savage et al. 1992
Professionals in Public Service: They have high cultural capital but low economic capital and healthy life style. They participate in cultural and community activities. Managers and Bureaucrats: Indistinctive patterns of consumption. Average low-level exercise. Little engagement with cultural activities. Preference for traditional home furnishing style and dressing. Postmoderns: Non traditional interests like horse-riding or extreme sports. Consumption and lifestyle are becoming new indicators for class standing stratification within or between classes. Modern societies are consumer societies and acquisition of material goods seen as more important than it used to be. On the other hand, people from different classes are watching TV commercials and shopping from the same shops. Despite these commonalities among people, class differences can also become intensified through variations in life style and taste.

20 The Underclass They work under the worst working conditions.
They are more likely to become unemployed because of insecure jobs. Their life standards are extremely lower than rest of the society. They are long term unemployed, dependent on state welfare benefits, marginalized and socially excluded.

21 Gender and Class Structure
In every society men have more wealth, status and influence than women. Gender inequalities is more historical than class inequalities. Since hunter and gatherer societies men have superiority over women. Women are dependent of their fathers, husbands etc. and their wealth, status and life conditions are bounded with men. Women’s class position is governed by their husband’s class position. In daily life women are kept by private area, home, domestic duties children and family members. Sexual division of labour in job market defines both men’s and women’s jobs. These divisions in the labour market bring about the inequalities which women face in a number of areas of social life as a result of gender socialization. More types of jobs are seen as suitable for women today and many more women are going out of work in paid jobs.

22 Gender and Class Structure
When talking about women at work, many people assume this refers to paid employment, However there is one job which is performed by women which is unpaid housework. This work is not recognised as real work at all. It’s thought as little status job compared to paid employment. In the job market, women workers perform many of non-manual and routine tasks. This fact can be defined as feminization of routine white-collar jobs. Working conditions in these tasks have changed and lowered their status. Women are always large group in clerical occupations because deskilling and feminization have close connections. Women are mostly performing routine tasks without any initiative. Women have less chance of promotion and of entering skilled and managerial of technical, professional occupations. Therefore women are thought that they deserve lower-status jobs, they can break working life to care for their children. Many women experience downward social mobility as they abandon careers with bright futures to take care of children, only to return to work at a lower status.

23 Goldthrope’s critics about women’s class standing
In some families women’s income is more important and prestigious than men. Wives’ occupations may be more influencing factor on husband’s class standing. There are single mother families in which women are the only breadwinners in the household. Instead of using `breadwinner husband` as a concept it may be easier and explanatory to use the concept of dominant breadwinner. In the case of cross-class household it may be more convincing to take wife and husband’s class positions separately.

24 SOCIAL MOBILITY Social mobility refers to movement from one class level to another up or down the social hierarchy. Intra-generational social mobility compares a person’s present and previous occupation to measure how much mobility the person has achieved in lifetime. Intergenerational social mobility compares an adult’s present occupation with that of the family s/he was born into. The amount of social mobility in a society is major indicator of the degree of its openness. Upward mobility is more possible for middle class person than lower class people. Social mobility has increased in the middle class level because white-collar job opportunities increased recently, after 2nd world War. The reason is not the occupational system which became more egalitarian.

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